Swift Creek Elementary School is our Spotlight School of the Week
GRADE: 5th Grade
PROGRAM: Energy Matters
Scientist: Heather Fisher
Scientist Sarah and I got to end our week with the fifth graders at Swift Creek Elementary School for Energy Matters. I could tell the students had been studying energy and heat transfer as we went over the three types of heat transfer. We used some balloons to look up close at what convection and conduction can do. We watched one pop in less than a second, while the addition of water kept a similar balloon from popping for over 20 seconds! Who remembers why one balloon popped and the other didn’t?
My favorite parts of Energy Matters are the two experiments where the students can really SEE how heat is changing the energy of two different chemical reactions. First, we tested some glow sticks. The best part about glow sticks, of course, is that they glow! They glow because the chemicals inside the tube react in an exothermic chemical reaction, which means a chemical reaction the produces energy, in this case mostly light energy! Since we knew heat is also a type of energy, we watched what happened when we took heat away using ice water and when we added heat using warm water. Everyone was a bit dismayed when the cold water seemed to make their glow sticks stop glowing. I was impressed when one resourceful student discovered that she could use friction to make her glow stick brighter again! Thankfully the hot water made them even brighter than before!
With a better understanding of how heat could impact the speed of a chemical reaction, we ended our program in my favorite Science Fun way, with not one but TWO volcanoes. The cold water volcano was pretty impressive, but it didn’t even compare to the speed and strength of the warm water volcano! Pretty crazy how much changing something as simple as heat can change what happens in a chemical reaction! The power of a little extra energy!